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Entries in Mission Impossible (6)

Wednesday
Sep252013

Léa Arrives

Sometimes without warning I flash back to Léa Seydoux's entrance in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, strutting toward the camera/me in her grey trenchcoat.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan032012

Box Office: Mission New Years

Your mission should you choose to accept is it to rate the Mission: Impossible movies. I'm not sure that I can since I've found all four so easy to watch, even thrilling intermittently, until I promptly forget about them the next day. That said, I think I like Ghostocol, aka. I Am Mission Four the very best. And given how well it held up after a pretty big opening weekend, perhaps other audience members felt the same?

I wonder if Tom Cruise chose the tagline himself "No Plan. No Backup. No Choice"? That might well describe this franchise for him in terms of mega-star survival if you smooshed it together. "No Backup Plan. No Choice". He needed this movie to work and it did. Well done. Extra points for choosing Brad Bird aka Mr. Incredible as your boss, Tom. 

Box Office Top Ten 3 Day New Years Weekend (Estimates)
01 MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 4  $29.5  (cum. $132.4)
02 SHERLOCK HOMES 2 $21.0  (cum. $131.0)
03 ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS 3 $16.3 (cum. $92.7)
04 THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO 2.0  $14.8 (cum. $55.8) 
      ....whoa, Fincher's remake falling under the 3rd week of the Chipmunks regurgitation? Ouch. 
05 WAR HORSE 1 $14.3 (cum. $40.4)
06 WE BOUGHT A ZOO 1 $13.2 (cum. $40.6)
07 THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN  $11.4 ($47.2)
08 VALENTINES DAY 2: NEW YEARS EVE $6.3  (cum. $46)
09 THE DARKEST HOUR 1 $4.3 (cum. $13.2)
10 DESCENDANTS: FIRST GENERATION $3.4 (cum. $39.4) 

Talking Points
The Iron Lady was packing them in (extremely) limited release which just goes to show you that the Weinstein Co was setting fire to money by not opening it wider right away given that it's a) Meryl and b) the media is all up in that shit with Meryl profiles, 60 Minutes and the Kennedy Center Honors. That's free publicity that'll will wear off before the movie goes wide! Plus The Iron Lady is not the sort of movie that will benefit from word of mouth as it's not very good. A Separation and Pariah also opened to totally respectable if not earth shaking results which is too bad because they're both among the very best of the movies. This season is such a tough market for small movies. And yet they try to sell dozens of the best ones round about now every year.

Timid release strategies *can* work well for high quality hard to sell movies (The Artist, Shame) but you always run the risk of losing momentum... especially when you have major stars (Carnage / Dangerous Method) or brand recognition (Marilyn)

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (up to $4 million) and The Artist (up to $5) both had their first million dollar weekends now that they're no longer quite so impossible for moviegoers to see. Wider please. A Dangerous Method and Carnage, which have much more improbable Oscar dreams, continue to do pretty well in super limited release. If they don't go wider soon they're totally going to miss a window since it's hard to imagine them scoring major Oscar nods.

New Year's Eve was up 92% this weekend. Gee, I wonder why! Expect it to vanish from the face of the earth next week despite being on over 2000 screens at the moment. Who gets those screens? Why is only one movie, a horror film, going wide?

Did you see a movie on New Year's or were you nursing a hangover?

 

Monday
Dec262011

Box: Office - Ghostly Christmas

One of my favorite traditions when I was a kid and later a visiting adult was picking the movie to watch on Christmas day with the family. It was usually me making the final decision since I was the one forcing keeping the tradition alive. My favorite of these as an adult was Titanic (1997) because even my Dad loved it and he never loves movies. This Christmas evening movie-going tradition maybe isn't as strong as it once was with American families since the weekend didn't jingle merrily with box office change.

Nevertheless, it was definitely crowded with new releases, week old releases and all of those frustratingly shy Oscar hopefuls who refuse to go wide enough for audiences to enjoy them. The weekend was won by Ghostocol which you could categorize as a big hit were it not for that super-sized budget. Whose idea was it to give it a budget that was even higher than the domestic gross of its predecessor five years ago?

Box Office Top Fifteen (Estimates)
          ~ over 2000 theaters
01 MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - GHOST PROTOCOL  $29.5  (cum. $61.9)
02 SHERLOCK HOMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS $20.2  (cum. $79)
03 THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO  $12.7 (cum. $21.1) 
04 ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIPWRECKED $12.6 (cum. $49.5)
05 THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN $9.7 (cum. $17.7)
06 WE BOUGHT A ZOO  $9.4 christmas day only
07 WAR HORSE $7.5 christmas day only [STAGE VS. SCREEN]
08 NEW YEARS EVE $4.9 (cum. $34.2)
09 THE DARKEST HOUR $3 christmas day only 
         ~ under 2000 theaters
10 THE MUPPETS $2.1 (cum. $75.7)
11 THE DESCENDANTS $2.1 (cum. $32.3) 
12 ARTHUR CHRISTMAS $2.1 (cum. $43.5)
13 HUGO $2 (cum. $43.6)
14 THE SITTER $1.8 (cum. $22.3)
15 YOUNG ADULT $1.7 (cum. $7.1)

Talking Points
Pina, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy had the best per screen averages. I was at a Christmas party yesterday and the latter was definitely a movie people were talking about. The conversation frequently swerved to Benedict Cumberbatch (People knew him as the other new Sherlock Holmes -- the not Robert Downey Jr Holmes) and there were at least a couple of "I didn't understand what was going on!"s uttered. But the point is that people are interested in it. They should've opened wider. 

You could finally give the gift of Marilyn. But did the wide release come two weeks too late?Same goes for My Week With Marilyn. It doubled its screen count, finally going wide this weekend for the holiday, but the widening came too late. The movie's moment, if you will, was definitely back around Thanksgiving time when competition was slightly less severe and it had that new girl sparkle in a weekend that was otherwise all about the little kiddies. Now it's competing with other adult appeal movies and it's not entirely fresh news in our fast-paced pop culture. The big expansion five weeks later saw dwindling revenues and it landed on the worst opening weekend chart. Did they not think Marilyn was a brand? Movies are obsessed with selling us the familiar and there's no way that MARILYN didn't have enough branding to open wider earlier. It isn't a French film without dialogue with no stars, after all.

Did you hit the theater and does your family always do this on Christmas?

 

Thursday
Dec222011

The Year in Gay Characters

Year in Review... more to come, too.

Though you know I am unfond of J. Edgar, it was super easy to make a list of the best gay characters without the noisiest ones: ol' Hoover and his much abused man Clyde. For my weekly column at Towleroad, I thought I'd wrap the year with a list on the Best LGBT movie characters of the year so click away if you'd like a few notes on Pariah, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Potiche, and even Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol. Okay, the latter I only imagined but I like to engage with the movies in unexpected ways. Don't let filmmakers box you in; practice freeform movie watching!

Because the holidays are all about spreading oneself thin, I'm also a guest today at AfterElton. I met AfterElton's Brian Juergens at a Madonna event -- it's true, I met the Queen herself (M, not Brian!) but more on that in February when the embargo breaks -- and he was cracking me up with his insane Oscar predictions like "Best Supporting Actor Jim Parsons as Charlotte Phelan in The Help". Hee.

So I had to bring him back to reality, set him... uh... straight. Such a killjoy I am! An Oscar man's work is never done.

 

Sunday
Dec182011

Box Office: Ethan, Sherlock and Alvin Return 

The newish Sherlock Holmes franchise was down from its first go around and the news was even worse for The Chipmunks in their third attack on the box office. Those high pitched rodents were off 50% so maybe we can safely bury this franchise?

I could have put a picture of Alvin and the Chipmunks here. Thank me!

The big story was crowded houses in limited release for the return of Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) in Mission: Impossible 4. (The four is silent or pronounced "Gost Pro•toh•call".) I'm eager to see it myself, not because of that prologue to The Dark Knight Rises that's attached in some theaters but because... director BRAD BIRD! He hasn't let us down yet: Family Dog, The Incredibles, Iron Giant, Ratatouille! So curious to see how he handles flesh and blood actors instead of drawings and pixels.

Box Office Top Ten
01 SHERLOCK HOLMES A GAME OF SHADOWS new $40 
02 ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIPWRECKED new $23.5 
03 MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - GHOST PROTOCOL  $13 
04 NEW YEAR'S EVE new $7.4 (cum. $24.8)
05 THE SITTER new $4.4 (cum. $17.7)
06 THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN PART 1 $4.3 (cum $266.4)
07 YOUNG ADULT $3.6 (cum $4)
08 HUGO $3.6 (cum $39)
09 ARTHUR CHRISTMAS $3.6 (cum. $38.5)
10 THE MUPPETS $3.4 (cum $70.9)

Other Talking Points
Precursor Nominations Mean Nothing to Ticket SalesThe Descendants [Michael's review] didn't really get a boost from its week of precursor glories, off 23% from last week, but then neither did any of the other films. It's all white noise to general audiences... until Oscar nominations, one supposes. Meanwhile one wonders if the Weinstein Co is being too cautious. The Artist [Nathaniel's review] was off only 2% but they only added one screen. My Week With Marilyn [Nathaniel's review] is also losing heat without expansions. It's taking forever and what gives with that. Marilyn is a brand. 

Jodie in Hiding:  Carnage is the second Jodie Foster picture in a row to open in a tiny number of locations following The Beaver. While I realize she isn't the draw she once was, it seems like she'd still be enough of a draw in wide release to at least make some money on a wider opening, even if people don't end up liking the movie, instead of the torturous inching along which prevents revenue.

Indie Success: Shame crossed the $1 million mark with 30 screens added and Margin Call crossed the $5 million mark (on a $3.5 million budget) as it continues to lose theaters. Is Margin Call a sign that Zachary Quinto is going to be a real behind-the-scenes force? He really seems to be taking to the producer's role with several projects lined up. 

What did you see this weekend? Was it worth your time?